Fall Grass Seeding: What is Dormant Seeding?

If your lawn is not as lush and green as you would like, but you have missed the optimal seeding window this fall (August to September), you still have options that will allow you to have a great lawn next spring. A process known as dormant seeding is basically distributing grass seed when the weather is too cold for the seeds to germinate. This type of grass seeding is ideal for re-seeding areas with bare soil and to give you a jump on having a greener, thicker lawn next spring.

When is the Best Time for Dormant Seeding?

The process of dormant seeding involves putting seed down before the ground is frozen, but cold enough that germination of the grass seed will not happen until the next spring after the ground and soil begins to get warm. Seeds, including grass seeds that don’t germinate late in the fall season, typically don’t survive winter weather because the immature seedlings struggle to survive in harsh conditions. The process of preparing the ground for dormant seeding is the same as seeding for grass at other seeding times of the year.

What is the Process?

One of the most important parts of this type of seeding process is choosing the seed. It is essential to choose seed mixes that adapt well to the amount of maintenance you will plan to do during the growing season and the conditions of the site where the seeding will be done. Soil contact is also important for a successful grass seeding, so the initial prepping of the area is necessary. The soil must be loosened (about a half-inch of loose soil) for the seed to be incorporated into the surface.

A hand rake can usually be used for small areas of bare soil, but larger areas are better prepared by going over the area with a vertical mower or power rake. Make sure to remove all of the grass and plant debris that was loosened during this process so that it doesn’t interfere with the sowing process. Once you have properly sown the seeds, thoroughly water the area, then leave it alone until next spring.

Dormant seeding is low maintenance and requires less irrigation than is required for seeding during the warmer months. When dormant seeding is completed, the seed will be covered and protected by the winter snowfall. Once spring arrives, the grass will emerge, but you may need to do some additional seeding in thin areas. However, it’s important to wait until the seedlings emerge to do this so you don’t end up over-seeding.

Contact Ralph Helm Inc. Lawn Equipment Center to learn more information about dormant seeding and/or the best equipment for seeding and mowing.

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